Filipina Worker, Israeli-born Son Jailed Pending Deportation Amid Government Crackdown

Maureen Mariano and her 10-year-old son Ralph are currently held in the Givon prison; their detention is part of a move to deport dozens of migrant workers

Lee Yaron
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Ten-year-old Ralph who goes by the Hebrew name Harel.
Ten-year-old Ralph who goes by the Hebrew name Harel.Credit: Uci
Lee Yaron

A Filipina woman and her 10-year-old son were arrested and jailed on Monday pending their deportation from Israel amid a wider crackdown on dozens of foreign workers whose visas were not renewed after they had children in Israel.

The woman, Maureen Moriano, and her son Ralph who goes by the Hebrew name Harel, are currently being held in the Givon prison in Ramle. They live in Tel Aviv, where the son attends the Bialik-Rogozin school, which serves nearly half of Tel Aviv's foreign students. Several pupils from the school were arrested over the past months. Ralph is also a member of the Tel Aviv Boys Scouts, which has demanded his immediate release and "return to a normal life, as is deserved by every child in Israel."

A demonstration in Tel Aviv against the deportation of children of foreign workers, August 2019.Credit: Meged Gozani

Attorney David Tadmor, who represents Moriano and her son, said the Population and Immigration Authority "treats migrant children as if they are their mother's baggage, having no rights. The unbearable ease with which the Population Authority puts a 10-year-old in prison should not be acceptable to any decent human being." 

A demonstration is slated to take place Monday evening in front of the Interior Ministry in Tel Aviv. Protesters will demand the immediate release of the mother and her son as well as the settling of the legal status of immigrant children in Israel.